Grilled Cheese with Provolone, Fresh Tomato, and Arugula-Oregano Pesto

Sometimes I say to myself, “Really?  You’re going to post this on your blog?  Something people don’t really need a recipe for?”  And I say answer, “Yes.  I am.  Because you never know.  And it’s really, really tasty.  And look how pretty it is!”

So here’s a recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich. :)

My family goes crazy for pesto.  I can’t remember the last time I just made plain old basil pesto.  Probably since we last had basil plants in the garden that grew like weeds.  And that hasn’t happened for me here in Utah for some reason.  Know what does grow like a weed?  My oregano.  It’s taking over my garden and it’s time for me to halve it again–just like I do every summer.

Funny enough, I used to hate oregano.  I started using it a lot in my summer cooking, mostly because because I can’t see something in my garden going to waste.  I have to use it–every last little bit.  So I use it to make pesto and other recipes, then I dry it to use all winter long.  And I’ve decided I quite like oregano after all.

Back to the pesto.  I also happen to love the flavor of arugula in pesto (and everything else), so mixing it with oregano works great.  And…my kids don’t even know they’re getting a serving of their leafy greens on their sandwich.  Mwahahahahaha!  I’m so sneaky.

I also have been making pesto without the cheese.  If I have some on hand I might use it, but I’ve enjoyed the cheese-less version quite a lot, and no one in my family can really tell the difference.  So there’s that.  Do what you like best.  Also, you can use all arugula if you don’t have or can’t find that much fresh oregano.  (Or message me and I’d be happy to share mine.  Like, really happy.)  This recipe makes about 1 cup of pesto, so you’ll have plenty to use for pasta too.

Grilled Cheese with Provolone, Fresh Tomato, and Arugula-Oregano Pesto

original recipe

Ingredients:

For pesto:

2 cups lightly packed arugula
2 cups lightly packed fresh oregano
1/2 cup raw almonds (walnuts or pine nuts)
1/4 to 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano (optional–I usually leave it out)
1 large garlic clove
extra virgin olive oil (between 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
1/4 tsp. salt

For sandwich:

8 slices of your favorite bread (whole wheat, white, gluten-free, whatever you like best)
1-2 tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 2-3 slices per sandwich)
4 thick slices provolone (or mozzarella)
Butter

Instructions:

For pesto:

Place nuts in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until nuts are finely ground.  Add the arugula, oregano, garlic and cheese, if using, and pulse again until finely chopped.  With processor running, add the olive oil through the feed hole until the pesto reaches the desired consistency.  (For this I made the pesto a little thicker than normal because the tomato slices were extra juicy.)  Scrape down sides of bowl as needed and pulse a few more times.  Transfer to a jar or bowl and press plastic wrap against the surface to help prevent it from darkening.

For sandwich:

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Meanwhile, spread a little pesto on four of the slices of bread.  Top each with a slice of cheese and a few slices of tomato.  Top each one with another slice of bread.  Spread butter onto the outward facing sides of each slice of bread.  Cook in the skillet until browned on each side and cheese has melted.

Serve warm.  Makes enough for 4 sandwiches.

p.s. Obviously you can make this gluten-free by using GF bread and vegan by using vegan cheese (I like Daiya the best.)

5 Responses to “Grilled Cheese with Provolone, Fresh Tomato, and Arugula-Oregano Pesto”

  1. mountain mama cooks June 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Glad you did post because you’re right, it is pretty! And you can never have enough pesto recipes in your life!!

  2. jen June 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    I”m glad you shared too, I love arugula pesto, and this sandwich is a favorite. I love the use of oregano, will definitely try it out!

    Also, your images are beautiful.

  3. The Vox June 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    I loved grilled cheese sandwiches when I was a kid. Now I think this will be my grown-up version of it!

  4. Emily June 30, 2012 at 2:47 am #

    I love this for the pesto recipe!

  5. Marina@Picnic at Marina June 30, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    I haven’t tried arugula pesto, a little bit concerned about arugula in it. But now I think to try it, I guess oregano, cheese and nuts will balance the strong arugula taste. Thanks for the recipe! :)

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